By Claudia Heller
Steven Robert Baker, a member of the Westerners since 2019, died from complications of pneumonia on April 4, 2022, at the age of 80. A true historian, musically talented and known fondly as “the keeper of the keys,” his death is mourned by all who knew him.
Born in Richmond CA, Steve lived in Blythe, California for a few years with his father, and then moved to Monrovia, California where he spent his life, residing in the very house built by his great great grandfather in 1887. His love for music guided his life where he would often play the old pump organ which he had donated to the Duarte Historical Museum.
Steve was an active member of dozens of historical societies in the Monrovia area and was always willing to present history related programs. A tenor with a ringing tone, he sang in musical ensembles his entire life.
Steve served as a docent at several museums, met with families to help them trace their history, gave talks at general meetings, and led tours through the Live Oak Cemetery. In 1991 the City of Monrovia appointed him the City Historian and he was elected to the position of City Treasurer, a position he held until he died. He entertained adults and students about local history and wrote countless articles about local architecture. His lectures were enhanced by his period outfits and top hat.
He has been described as "patient, kind, generous and thoughtful,” and is certainly irreplaceable.
NOTE TO MUSEUM MEMBERS AND FRIENDS
We are pleased to announce that the Duarte Historical Museum is now open after being shuttered for a year due to the pandemic.
Our regular hours: Wednesdays 1-3 p.m. and Saturdays 1-4 p.m.
We look forward to your visit. Admission is free.
Social distancing adhered to.
BONUS ROUTE 66 EXHIBIT THROUGH JUNE 2022
DUARTE WOMAN'S CLUB EXHIBIT NOW THROUGH APRIL
The Duarte Woman's Club, one of Duarte's longest running philanthropic organizations, will be the subject of an exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum running March through April.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROGRAM FEBRUARY 20
In recognition of Black History Month, the Monrovia Duarte Black Alumni Association will present a conversation with Barbara Gholar and Brian Richie hosted by 20- year radio veteran Chris Loos on February 20, 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Duarte Historical Museum, at 777 Encanto Parkway in Duarte. Admission is free. Space is limited.
Loos has worked in top markets in the U.S. and has interviewed the likes of Eminem, Mike Tyson, the Black Eyed Peas and Kendrick Lamar.
9/27/37 - 9/19/21
When Pauline was a little girl, she would help her mother iron. She was so young she needed to climb onto a chair to reach the ironing board. Their job was to iron sheets for dozens of motels between Myrtle and Santa Anita Race Track, a rather boring job. However, the fun part was ironing colorful jerseys of such racetrack jockeys as Johnny Longden and Bill Shoemaker.
Pauline graduated from MAD High School in 1955, the very same school from which her parents graduated circa 1937. After her folks married, they lived in Yucaipa in the late 1980s to be near their daughters, but eventually gave in to the pleas of Pauline’s sister to move somewhere zoned for horses. They bought a half-acre of land in Monrovia in a house on Genoa Street between Magnolia and Mayflower, a house which stands today. Pauline’s father had a troublesome job which was mainly to maintain the trails in the area to get rid of poison oak and snakes.
It wasn’t long after her high school graduation that Pauline was almost hit by a car – an accident close enough to tear her skirt. In a panic the driver stopped to see if she was okay. On February 26, 1955, they were married. His name was Donald O’Day. Then he went into the Navy.
Robbed of oxygen during childbirth, Pauline suffered seizures which were debilitating. After her marriage they came only infrequently. When her husband returned from the Navy, they raised two boys and lived in Arcadia, Temple City, and Covina and divorced in 1967.
After the divorce, Pauline re-connected with an old MAD HS friend, Richard Montgomery and they wed in 1969. Richard worked as a letter carrier from 1967 to 1978. The couple bought a home on Delford Avenue in Duarte and there raised their son, Mark.
Although Pauline loved Duarte, she missed the “Old Duarte” she knew so well, a town with such stores as Coronet, Alpha Beta, Vons and The Big Sky Drive In. “When the freeway was built, the town changed,” she says.
Pauline liked to volunteer and for her efforts was the recipient of the District 48 Woman of the Year Award in 2015 by Roger Hernandez. And for years Pauline served as a docent at the Duarte Historical Museum. She is a collector of collections and often would exhibit such items as vintage kitchen utensils. She loved to show visitors through the Museum and talk about local history and her experiences in Duarte throughout the years. She especially enjoyed talking to the local students when they toured the museum and often gave them persimmon cookies from her favorite recipe.
Pauline and Mark spent a lot of time frequenting estate sales from Temecula to Oxnard to Santa Clarita to Beaumont. It was their favorite past time and filled their home with the purchases.
Pauline’s son Mark remains in the Delford Avenue house today and serves as a museum volunteer.
- By Claudia Heller
DUARTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
On Wednesday, August 18, 2021, at 3 p.m. at the Museum the following Election of Officers took place:
Nancy Soluri nominates Liz Reilly
No other nominations
Vote held and Liz Reilly is elected unanimously
Nancy Soluri nominates Evette Arcaro
No other nominations
Vote held and Evette Arcaro is elected unanimously
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS AS OF AUGUST 18, 2021:
Liz Reilly, President
Sharman Warner, Vice President and Docent Coordinator
Evette Arcaro, Recording Secretary
Steve Baker, Treasurer
JudyAnn Blake, Board Member
Claudia Heller, Board Member
Curator - open
Check back for the next Speaker date.
Duarte Historical Society & Museum
777 Encanto Parkway
Duarte, CA 91010
Phone: (626) 357-9419
Send Mail to: P.O. Box 263, Duarte, CA 91009